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Volunteers educate others about the issue of domestic violence

Noma Kreegar, Staff Writer

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The Kansas City SAFEHOME organization is actively working to shed light on a growing epidemic that impacts communities across the nation — domestic violence and abuse.

Sophomores Haley Birnbaum and Valentina Diaz volunteer at SAFEHOME, where they aim to educate their peers about the problem of domestic violence.

“[We] work in a smaller volunteer group within the facility called CAPE [Coalition for Awareness through Peer Education],” Birnbaum said. “CAPE is centered around romantic relationships — what’s good, what’s bad — but we also touch on domestic violence [and] unhealthy friendships.”

SAFEHOME was in need of actors for performances about the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships called “The Outrage,” so Birnbaum and Diaz said they decided to help out.

“[Every few weeks,] we do [The Outrage] at schools [where] we read a script and act it out,” Diaz said. “There’s not a lot of awareness about this [issue] because it’s sort of taboo.”

Birnbaum said her favorite part about volunteering for SAFEHOME is the unique opportunities she gets to educate others.

“It’s something I’ve been passionate about for a really long time, [especially] the child abuse aspect,” Birnbaum said. “I’ve never seen a lot of recognition for child abuse anywhere, which is a problem, because children are getting hurt by their parents. They’re getting silenced, and nobody knows about it.”

Diaz said volunteering for SAFEHOME is rewarding even though it’s a bit of a time commitment.

“It takes seven hours of your month, and you get to be around people you love,” Diaz said. “It’s amazing.”

The SAFEHOME organization will be selling donated art at the Crossroads Arts District’s First Fridays event in May. All of the proceeds from the event will go toward CAPE and helping victims of domestic abuse.

“We’ll be selling art pieces that have the theme of empowerment,” Diaz said. “All the money goes toward the shelter. It helps the people in the shelter get food and clothes, or it goes toward CAPE and helping us educate our peers.”

Birnbaum and Diaz both believe SAFEHOME has raised awareness about all forms of domestic violence in the community.  According to SAFEHOME-ks.org,
about 7,300 individuals receive support from SAFEHOME’s shelter and community services every year.

“The motivation to stop domestic violence and to stop domestic abuse brings you closer [to your community],” Birnbaum said. “This is such a raw and disturbing issue, but being able to make a change and help people is amazing.”

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